Research on Tracking

By Debra Viadero — October 14, 1998 1 min read
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Here are some of the major studies and books in recent years on tracking:

  • “Ability Grouping in the Middle Grades: Achievement Effects and Alternatives,” by Robert Slavin, published in Elementary School Journal in 1993.
  • “Achievement Effects of Ability Grouping in Secondary Schools: A Best Evidence Synthesis,” Robert Slavin’s often-quoted review of the literature on tracking, published in the Review of Educational Research in 1990.
  • “An Analysis of the Research on Ability Grouping: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives,” a meta-analysis by James A. Kulik that found benefits in tracking for high-ability students, published in 1992 by the National Research Center on Gifted and Talented Students at the University of Connecticut.
  • “Detracking America’s Schools: Equity at Zero Cost?,” a report by Laura M. Argys, Daniel I. Rees, and Dominic J. Brewer, published in 1996 by the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Reprints are also available from the RAND Corp.'s Washington office at (202) 296-5000.
  • Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality, by Jeannie Oakes, published in 1985 by Yale University Press.
  • “Multiplying Inequalities: The Effects of Race, Social Class, and Tracking on Opportunities to Learn Mathematics and Science,” a report by Jeannie Oakes on a nationwide survey of tracking practices in math and science, published by the RAND Corp., Santa Monica, Calif., in 1990.
  • “The Stratification of High School Learning Opportunities,” a nationwide study of tracking’s effects, by Adam Gamoran, published in Sociology of Education in 1987.
  • “Sustained Inquiry in Education: Lessons from Skill Grouping and Class Size,” a meta-analysis of the tracking literature by Frederick Mosteller, Richard J. Light, and Jason A. Sachs, published in Harvard Educational Review in 1996.
  • “The Tracking and Ability Grouping Debate,” Tom Loveless’s critique of tracking research, published in August by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in Washington.
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A version of this article appeared in the October 14, 1998 edition of Education Week as Research on Tracking


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